Hi. Remember me? I'm sorry I've been away for so long. I have had a hard time getting motivated to do anything since the start of the new year. That baking hiatus I said I took? Still kinda on it. We've been sticking to a little routine, but I haven't felt any desire whatsoever to switch the oven on. So I didn't. And it felt good! I've been slowly working my way through a bunch of savory dinner ideas i've had lurking, and working on testing a couple of things (batch 285374 of macarons - anyone know how to deal with wonky feet!?!), but aside from that it's been super quiet around here.
I do however find myself compulsively buying blood oranges. There's currently about 30 in the fruit bowl, and I had to stop myself from buying more this morning at the supermarket. And you can't add them to dinner, so I had to make something with them!
I love the taste of blood orange, and so wanted to keep it simple. The components for these tarts can be prepared well ahead of time, and assembled just as you a ready to serve. I went with the sweet pastry recipe from Tartine's book, then used it to make little baby tart shells (lining them is kinda fiddly, someone come do it for me?). I used pastry rings (I use these, in the 3 ⅜" inch size, but these would work too) because I had seen it done on all the fancy shows. It turned out to be a little more tricky than it looked, but the recipe made loads of dough so I was able to practice a few times before I shot these. If you have tart tins with removable bottoms, they will work well too!
I then filled the baked shells with cold lemon curd, and topped with a few blobs of swiss meringue. Swiss meringue gets cooked to a safe temp at the water bath phase, so you don't have to worry about raw egg whites. If I wasn't shooting them I probably would have added a couple more blobs of meringue so the whole thing was covered, and you got a little meringue in every bite. You could totally toast it too!
A few wee tips:
- The Sweet Tart dough (Pate Sablee) can be a little fiddly to roll out. I found that working it slightly in my hands to warm it before rolling worked best.
- I blind baked these using heavy duty plastic wrap and rice. I prefer to use rice as I find it fills the gaps much better than beans do.
- You can do the tart shells in batches! They keep in an airtight container until you are ready to go.
- If you would like the tops of the shell to be nice and smooth, you can give them a sneaky file with a microplane.
- If you can, make the tart dough and the curd the evening before. They both benefit from some time to rest and chill well. Make the meringue just as you are ready to assemble, and pipe on. I used an Ateco 866 tip for these - my fave!
- Store leftover components separately, and assemble when ready to serve.
- If you wanted to make these lemon, you could sub for lemon juice in the curd.
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Blood Orange Meringue Tarts
Sweet Tart Dough
- 255g (9oz) unsalted butter, at room temp
- 200g (1 cup) sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 2 Large eggs, at room temp
- 500g (3 ½ cups) all-purpose flour
Blood Orange Curd
- 1 cup (240ml) blood orange juice
- ⅔ cup (120g) sugar
- 8 Tbsp (113g) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 8 egg yolks
- 125g egg whites
- 190g sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
SWEET TART DOUGH
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar, salt, and vanilla bean paste, and beat on high speed for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, scraping down the bowl well between each addition. Add the flour all in one go, and mix on low until incorporated.
- Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly to bring together. Shape the dough into two fat sausages, and wrap tightly in plastic. Rest at least a few hours, but ideally overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Prepare your tart tins or rings (this can be done in a few batches if you don't have enough rings or tins)
- Cut a slice off the sausage of dough. Work lightly with your hands to warm up slightly. Roll out to a circle about ⅛ thick. Line the tart ring, ensuring the dough makes it right into the corners and is straight up the sides. Patch any tears if needed. Trim off any excess - you can keep the scraps to reuse later. Place on the prepared baking sheet, and Repeat with the remaining rings.
- Place the baking sheet with the lined rings in the freezer for 15 minutes, until firm.
- Remove from the freezer, and dock each shell a few times with the tines of a fork. Place a piece of heavy duty plastic wrap in each shell, and fill to the brim with rice, twisting the excess plastic wrap to make a little package. If you do not have heavy duty plastic wrap, parchment paper will work fine too.
- Bake for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Remove the rice and plastic wrap, and bake for a further 5 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before removing from the tins or rings. Repeat the process if needed to bake additional shells.
- File down the edges with a microplane if they are a little rough. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
BLOOD ORANGE CURD
- Place a medium heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the bowl does not touch the water.
- Place all of the ingredients into the bowl. Cook, whisking constantly, until the curd coats the back of a spoon and you can draw a clear line through it with your finger. Strain into a container, and place in the fridge to cool completely.
- Measure the egg whites, granulated sugar and vanilla bean paste into the bowl of a stand mixer or other heatproof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat the mixture, whisking often and watching the edges carefully, until it no longer feels gritty when rubbed between your fingers, and it registers at least 70˚c / 160˚f on a thermometer.
- Carefully transfer to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form, approximately 5-6 minutes. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a french star tip (I used an ateco #866)
- Mix the cooled lemon curd with a whisk or immersion blender to ensure that there are no lumps. Fill each tart shell with curd, and smooth with an offset spatula. Pipe blobs of swiss meringue onto each tart. Torch if desired.
- Serve immediately.
Sweet Tart Dough Recipe from Tartine